COVID-19 is ongoing and it is essential to strike a balance between the health and safety of people and the requirements of the codes – flexibility is key!!
As restaurants, bars, and similar establishments across the United States resume operations at reduced capacity under COVID-19 restrictions, many are looking for ways to convert outdoor spaces into temporary seating to offset the mandated reductions to the indoor occupancy loads. The Code Council offers some insight for consideration of ways in which code officials and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) can help protect employees, customers, and communities. While these items are intended to decrease the spread of COVID-19, they focus more on the code related issues that may be impacted while utilizing outdoor spaces for seating areas. The outdoor seating concept is designed to enable restaurant and similar-type facilities the ability to increase their service and customer base at occupancy levels near or at the otherwise normally permitted numbers.
These considerations are meant to supplement – not replace – any state, county, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which businesses must comply.